I FOUND it very difficult to make sense out of an article I read in the November 7 edition of the Kaieteur News newspaper. The article was headlined, “Failing to audit Exxon’s US$10B spending is ‘dereliction of duty’- MP Forde”.
In a nutshell, Roysdale Forde is claiming that the fact that the government has not yet done an audit into the US$9.5B in spending undertaken for the Liza I and II developments in the Stabroek Block is “a massive financial failure”. In fact, the article quoted Forde as calling for “an independent investigation into this colossal act of incompetence”. I find it quite bemusing that such a statement could be made by Forde.
In its November 10, 2021 edition, Kaieteur News carried another article headlined, “Savings from audit of Exxon’s US$9.5B bill could have paid every citizen’s income tax for 56 yrs – Forde”. In the article, it was revealed that Forde did some “calculations” which showed that Guyana could have recouped approximately US$1.1B (G$235.2B), had the audit into Exxon’s oil concession been carried out. However, I believe it is very important for people to question this so-called “calculation” which Forde did to arrive at the figures.
It is a known fact that Forde and his party, the APNU+AFC, did not conduct the audit themselves. As such, I am very curious as to where the US$1.1B figure came from, especially since we all know that Math is not their strongest area. If Forde and his colleagues could not determine, for months, that 33 is the majority of 65, how is it that they can deal with figures like US$9.5B and US$1.1B and present accurate findings? Something isn’t adding up.
Nevertheless, giving them the benefit of the doubt that they improved on their Math skills, it is even more perplexing that Forde chastises the PPP/C Government for failing to meet the two-year audit deadline which he claims resulted in Guyana having to pay “US$9.5B for the Liza I and II projects”. I understand fully well that the APNU+AFC coalition is built on falsehoods, and they pride themselves on revealing little bits of information, at their convenience, to distract people from reality.
However, it is public knowledge that it was the APNU+AFC coalition that negotiated the contract with Exxon when they took office, and allowed the two-year limit for an audit to be done to remain unchanged. In fact, building on this, it meant that it was Forde’s own party which should have ensured that the audit was done within the two-year timeframe, from 2015-2018. Why was this not done, and why is there a change in the narrative now?